I have just returned from my 2-week trip from Visayas and Mindanao, the southern part of the Philippines. And now, there are a lot of things that I want to write but I just don’t know where to start First of all, I just wanna say that nothing can beat the feeling of traveling into one’s own country. It’s like an endless explorations of one’s own culture, heritage and territory. So let me start with this historically significant and well-known province — the province of Cebu.
This was my first time to visit the Queen City of the South. So you can imagine my excitement and eagerness to see Cebu. As soon as our plane had arrived at Mactan airport, we immediately hailed a taxi to bring us to Mactan Shrine. A Friendly Tip: You can find the yellow airport taxis outside the arrival area and they usually have a fixed rate. But you can find the white metered taxis when you turn right from the arrival area and then go up the stairs to the second floor. You will see the white metered taxis all lined up there. Actually, my mom and I had two wheeled travel bags and I was about to carry them up the stairs when a man helped us and carried our bags for us. It was really nice of him. I had an impression then that the Cebuanos are kind people. :-)
We took the white metered taxis to Mactan Shrine and we paid Php 80 for the fare. I heard that Cebu City is still a bit far from Mactan Airport so we decided to head to Mactan Shrine first since it’s already in Mactan Island. The shrine is located at Punta Engaño, Lapu-Lapu City and is just a few meters away from Shangri-la Mactan.
Mactan Shrine was built to commemorate the “Battle of Mactan.” This spot was believed to be the area where the Battle of Mactan had taken place. It happened in 1521 when the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan attempted to conquer the island in honor of the Spanish King. However, the native chieftain Lapu-Lapu and his men resisted their forces and fought with them. This had resulted to the tragic death of Magellan and several of his men. The brave Lapu-Lapu is known as the first native who resisted Spanish Colonization and he is now revered as the first Filipino hero. You can even see his figure in the seal of the Philippine National Police (PNP) as he is well-known for his bravery.
There’s no entrance fee in Mactan Shrine. We saw some tourists and students who were on their field trip when we arrived there. I was really looking forward to see Lapu-Lapu’s monument, because I had often seen its picture in my history textbook during my elementary days when we used to memorize all the names of the Filipino heroes. I never expected that one day I would see this place with my own eyes.
And of course, we stopped by the famous sutukil. Sutukil restaurants are only walking distance from Mactan Shrine. They are located at the left side of the shrine’s entrance, near the souvenir stalls. Sutukil, which may sound “shoot-to-kill,” is a popular method of cooking in Cebu. It actually came from three Visayan words: sugba (grilled), tuwa (stewed) and kilaw (raw) which indicate how the food will be prepared. I heard that sutukil is a must try for first-timers in Cebu. Unfortunately, I’m not really into seafoods and I’m allergic to shrimp, squid and crab so I din’t try it. However, I want my mom to experience it so we stopped by at Manna Sutukil. Manna Sutukil is a popular sutukil restaurant in Mactan. The prices here are a bit high though, maybe because its already popular. I even saw many pictures of celebrities who have already visited the restaurant. But there are many sutukil restaurants in the area, so you can always choose the restaurant that would fit your budget.
There is a wide variety of fresh seafood to choose from. Upon ordering, they will ask you whether you like it to be grilled (sugba), stewed (tuwa) or raw (kilaw). Prices are measured per kilo. Half kilo of squid is Php 140 and half kilo of prawn is Php 340. Manna Sutukil is quite a spacious restaurant. You can choose to eat in the air conditioned dining room at first floor or the open air dining room at second floor. We chose to stay at second floor because we prefer the fresh air. The restaurant is also situated beside the sea so you can have a view of the sea and the mangroves from the dining rooms.
My mom ordered grilled squid and sinigang na hipon. Unfortunately, I could only watch her eating due to my seafood allergy. She looked so delighted while eating though. I think she really enjoyed the food.